Smelly Water in West Texas Due to Lake Levels

by Anayeli Ruiz 
NewsWest 9

Smelly water in West Texas. We have heard from viewers complaining it's worse than usual.     They've been asking us to look in to it. NewsWest 9 spoke with the City of Midland and we asked why it stinks so bad and if it's a health risk.

"We treat the water and it's safe to drink but the problem is that it leaves behind a musty odor and this year it's worse because the lakes are low," Stuart Purvis, Director of Utilities for the City of Midland, said.

Stuart Purvis with the City of Midland says he has heard people complain about the smell of the water. During the summer, he says it's normal for the water to smell but this year it's worse.

"Typically in the summer we see this, we see algae blooms, we see things that happen and it's because the water gets warm and algae blooms and it ends up coming in to our water supply. We treat the water but the problem is it leaves behind a musty odor. This year, it's worse because the lakes our low," Purvis said.

The low water supply is making it harder for cities to treat the smell.

"As the lakes get smaller, it reacts to temperatures faster because there is less water there, so it gets hot and it's been really hot. So when it gets hot, things grow in it while we kill all those things and it's not in the drinking water, it leaves that kind of musty smell behind," Purvis said.

But they don't want to add too many chemicals to get the stink out.

"There are additional chemicals we add to clean taste and odor out. We don't add them all the time because in the winter we don't need to when it's cold. But in the summer we have to. We don't want to add too much and keep the cost down by not adding too much so we have to find the right balance," Purvis said.

But don't worry, the city says that there is no health risk to the extra chemicals they are adding.

"No they're all certified for use in water. It's potassium permanganate, that's the chemical we add. It's purple so obviously your water isn't purple, so we are not adding to much. It's just an oxidizer. As it enters the water, it will oxide the organics and break them down so you don't have to have the taste and odor smell."

The city hopes that they can control the smell a little better in the coming weeks.

"I understand that people are concerned about it and justifiably so. We're doing anything we can. We'll get on top of it in the next week or it will take us a while to get the chemicals right and get it knocked out," Purvis said.

NewsWest 9 also spoke to the City of Odessa and they said that they are dealing with an odor but it's normal during the summer months.